So you think your 4 year old is ready for an organized sport? Some kids are and some…not so much. No matter, you or the other parent is ready and so, the season begins. High expectations can railroad even the most understanding of parents. Sometimes, one of the parents is gung-ho in the beginning but the other is fearful of what lies ahead. This is a classic case of giving mixed signals to your young child, that if mom and dad aren’t on the same page, maybe I’m not ready to do this (whatever it is, they want me to do or not do).
Tee-ball is a time to experiment with a sport that may become important to your child. Notice, I said, “to your child.” It is also an opportunity for you to learn lots about your child. Is he coachable? That means, will he attend to another adult giving him instruction? Is he a good listener? Can he tune out all the excess noise coming from the sidelines and focus on what the coach is saying? Are his motor skills ready to tackle the intricacies of a simple catch and throw? Don’t get me wrong, this is not to say he/she must come with these skills but rather be willing to develop them as he matures. One of the most important characteristics of an athlete is being “coachable”.
Parents, especially mothers, worry about a child getting hurt while on the field. This is valid. However, moms and dads know that an accident can happen anywhere and at any time. A mother once told me that she was going to wait until her son was 9 or 10 and had a better understanding of safety. The unfortunate end was that by the time the parent was ready to have him play, his skill level was far below others. This, of course, led to frustration and an unwillingness to play at all. In trying to protect him, she prevented him from experiencing a natural maturational process. Needless to say, he didn’t have an opportunity to love the game.
For those of you with little ones on the field, you have an opportunity to watch and learn. You know who the aggressive kids are (ball hogs), the clutsy ones who can’t seem to put a glove to a ball at all, the cry babies who don’t want to bat last, or even the airheads who never seem to know what’s going on. But watch those same kids over the next two years and with good coaching, you will see some pretty good beginning ball players.
I wouldn’t trade those tee-ball days for anything. I have videos to help me remember. But best of all, I have a couple of grandsons who are now learning and loving (I hope) this great sport.
Baseball Mom of 20 years +++